Asphalt or Metal Roofing: 6 Factors To Determine Which Is Best for You

Your roof is one of the most important elements of your home. It not only provides protection from the weather, but also structural support, enhances energy efficiency and improves curb appeal. Since it plays such a vital role, it is important that you get it right when you choose which one to install.

There are several decisions you must make when choosing a roof, but few will be as critical as roofing material. For many people, this choice will come down to asphalt shingles versus metal roofing. There is no single roof type that is best for all. To find out which of the two types will work for you, consider the following factors.

1.   Cost

Hinging your choice of roofing on cost alone can be catastrophic. Still, no one is endowed with infinite financial resources, so your preferred roofing material should be within your budget. So as you begin contacting roofing contractors, consider how much you plan to spend.

Asphalt roofs are significantly less expensive to install than metal roofs, though the gap has been narrowing over the years (source: Asphalt is a byproduct of petroleum refinement, so its price goes up in tandem with oil prices. But while the difference in installation costs has shrunk, metal roofs are still more expensive to maintain due to the knowledge and specialty tools required.

2.   Durability

Asphalt shingles have unique weaknesses precipitating a shorter lifespan when compared to metal roofs. Persistent damp conditions and pooling water can lead to or accelerate fungus and algae growth. Ice dams may create cracks. Steep temperature fluctuations between day and night can shorten the life of your asphalt roof. For these reasons, an asphalt roof may last for 20 to 30 years, on average, depending on the climate, environment and quality of products used.

A metal roof is built for endurance and designed to withstand many things nature will throw at it. The roof may last about 50 years, but some can last for 150 years or more. Metal roofs were in widespread use in parts of rural America in the past and durability is a key reason for their return. However, metal roofs are typically noisier when it rains, which is something to consider if noise is a factor for you or your family.

3.   Resale Value

Any investment you make in your home is not just meant to improve your own comfort and safety. Resale value is often a factor too. Even if you have no intention of selling in the short to medium term, it is still something to consider in case you are forced to sell earlier than you expected. A new roof can potentially increase your sale price and help you find a buyer more quickly. But this depends on the roofing material you choose.

When you install metal roofing, there will be an increase in home value. As with most renovations, however, the increase does not necessarily commensurate with the cost of the roof. If you intend to sell within the next few years, asphalt is a better option since the upfront cost is lower and many consumers still do not realize the value and benefits of metal roof. On the other hand, if you intend to stay put for the long haul, a metal roof could be the better choice.

4.   Sustainability

Metal roofs are largely built from recycled material. They can be recycled over and over again which makes them the more sustainable option when compared to asphalt shingles. Landfills across America receive a staggering 11 million tons of old shingles each year.

Metal roofing is more energy efficient, too. Many manufacturers fit emissive metal panels that release heat absorbed in the summer and retain heat during the winter. This can cut your HVAC costs substantially.

5.   Curb Appeal

Both metal and asphalt roofs come in a wide range of styles and varieties. Whereas asphalt roofing has a typical appearance, it is now manufactured in different designs that mimic tile, wood shakes and slate. The color palette is extensive and there are many types of finishes as well, ranging from subtly multi-colored to the slightly weathered.

Metal roofs have usually been made from corrugated tin panels. These days, you can find roofing that suits more refined, less rustic structures. They now come in a spectrum of finishes and colors, including shake, slate and shingle styles.

No One Size Fits All

It would seem metal roofing has the edge on most of these factors, with the exception of cost. That does not mean that it should be the preferred choice for all homes. Also, these are not the only aspects to consider. Weigh your needs and choose the most suitable roofing type for your home.